Madonna and Child
54 x 18 1/4 x 11 in. (137.2 x 46.4 x 27.9 cm)
French; probably made in Auvergne
Medium and Support:
Limestone, polychromy, gilding
Gift of Emily Sibley Watson
Location: Currently on view
This beautiful representation of the Madonna and Child is typical of a type known as the “Virgin of Tenderness,” which developed in France in the early- and mid-1300s. The elegant quality of the Virgin’s dress and her courtly stance suggest her elevated status and nobility, while the Christ Child’s pose and the manner in which his mother supports him evokes an informal, tender mood.
The Virgin’s crown, which alludes to her role as Queen of Heaven, rests on a veil that symbolizes her humility. Although only a small fragment now survives, the Virgin initially held a flower in her right hand, probably a rose or lily, while the Christ Child holds a bird. In Christian tradition, these symbols refer to the story of Christ’s birth and sacrificial death.
[Gallery label text, June 2013]